Pet Spotlight: Koda


Four years ago, the lives of Heather Bilecki and her family changed forever. With her own money, Bilecki went and bought Koda, her German Shepherd, and took him home. She had always wanted a dog of her own to love and care for, and she can’t express enough how much he means to her.

She had just graduated from high school, and she was supposed to go to college; however, at the time she couldn’t afford to receive higher education. Seeing her friends go to college and not being able to do the same thing really got her down. To make up for it, her parents decided to relent after years of saying no to the request to have a dog.
From the moment her parents agreed to her request, she knew in an instant which dog she wanted. “When I was working at a grocery store, I would go to Petland and play with the puppies in my free time,” Bilecki explains. “I would go in there, play with the puppies, and there, I fell in love with Koda.” Bilecki’s family decided to take a trip to Las Vegas, and they told their daughter if the dog was there after the two weeks they were gone, Koda would be hers. Miraculously, against all odds, Koda was still there when the family returned from their vacation.

One might think that Koda might be slightly dangerous given his size, yet if you get to know him, that’s far from the truth. Since living with Bilecki, Koda has become quite a character. Dust particles in the air better beware; he will try and eat them. If anyone hears his chomping and asks about it, they will quickly find out why.
He also loves walks and car rides. If someone were going to get his leash, then he would immediately get excited for the upcoming adventure.

His favorite toy is a bone-shaped pillow covered in candy cane stripes. He got it as a Christmas present a couple of years ago and since then, he’s gone through three of them. “He would carry it around with him all the time,” Bilecki states. “He would lay down on it; it’s just his favorite toy.”

If anything, he might get annoying. At times he would walk over to the door and bark. Bilecki would go over and open the door only to have him stare at her. It signifies that all he wanted to do was play and not roam around outside. But his most precious quality is his loyalty not only to Bilecki, but to other people as well. She states, “He can sense when I had a really bad day and would stick close to me, but he is so motivated to please me or anybody around him. It’s just great.”

Koda has been so good at appealing to people, Bilecki had taken it upon herself to allow her friends at SOTAD to come and spend some time with him when she’s taking a break from classes. “He loves walking around campus, seeing everybody,” Bilecki says. She has even stated that she is willing to open up Koda’s friend group to include anyone who wishes to enjoy some love from a very charming canine.
Koda is many things, but he isn’t a service dog. Reason being, according to Bilecki, while emotional support animals are there for your well-being, service dogs can be used to help serve the community such as providing a blind person a way to get around in her surroundings. People-pleaser and enjoying a good belly rub every so often, Koda is sure to bring a smile to anyone who comes to know him.